The wave of democratization that transformed the Muslim world began in October 2010 in Western Sahara to culminate in Morocco in July 2011, but not before to make a stop in Yemen on 27 January of the same year where 16,000 protesters marched through Sana’a, the capital city, against corruption and tired of the poor economic situation plaguing the country for years. While the protests occurred in a total of 19 nations, the deepest facts occurred, besides the country in question, in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya where rulers who controlled these states were finally toppled after decades in power.
Yemeni rebels, meanwhile, and inspired by the Tunisian Jasmine Revolution, achieved that President Ali Abdullah Saleh to resign immediately but the power ended up in his historic vice Major General Abd al-Mansur al-Hadi Rabbuh, who held interim president until September 23, 2011 and then take over as the new president of Yemen on 23 December of that year, as he was declared the winner (the only competitor) in the presidential elections of February 21.
Near the first anniversary of the uprising Yemen that overthrew Saleh after 34 long years, the situation in the Arab country remains complex after several decades immersed in backwardness and darkness.
The current administration responds to the transition period as is indicated by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that the April 21, 2011 recommended the formation of a national unity government, the transfer of power to Vice President Mansur al-Hadi, the holding of new elections and judicial immunity for the outgoing president Saleh. Currently a defense reform is being implemented and a National Dialogue (ND) among all players in the political life of Yemen is working to reshape the country’s political system, including the creation of a new constitution and electoral system reform. The ND is now the most important element in Happy Arabia and, as provided by the GCC, women, young, southern separatists, the Houthis and all other representative forces of the country should be included on it. But what about Yemeni citizens not living their home country? They are not allowed access to the Dialogue. Does the fact that they live in other countries becomes less Yemenis? Many are those who have contributed to this profound change from exile. But today they have no say, as the current president and the ruling political party, the General People’s Congress, have banned the entry ND to Yemeni immigrant representative scattered over the face of the Earth. To this effect has become an international organization, the Supreme Council of Yemeni Immigrants
(SCIY), which seeks to place at least one member in the ND. The SCIY has recently elected its officers and fight for the human rights of their constituents, in total 6 million people. The next elections that suggested the GCC will not take place until February 2014, but while the DN is not complete all the deep transformative process that is taking place in one of the poorest countries in the Middle East will be overshadowed.
Hopefully achieving the objective the Yemeni immigrants will be represented in the next dialogue to make a transition in peace and harmony, but above all, fair. As the motto of Yemen, For God, for Country, for the Revolution.
Ramiro G. Riera
political scientist specialized in international relations.